Hemel's Whitlock as driven as ever for Tokyo challenge

Hemel Hempstead's Max Whitlock is set for a third Olympic Games in Tokyo this summerHemel Hempstead's Max Whitlock is set for a third Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer
Hemel Hempstead's Max Whitlock is set for a third Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer
Double Olympic champion Max Whitlock, who is from Hemel Hempstead, will be leading the Team GB men's artistic gymnastics squad in Tokyo this summer

Old man of the team he may be but Max Whitlock is still as driven as ever to improve and add to his record-breaking resume in Tokyo this summer.

The 28-year-old Hemel Hempstead star will be heading to a third Olympic Games after being officially revealed as the headline act in Team GB’s youthful four-man men’s artistic gymnastics squad.

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He will take his place in Japan alongside up-and-comers in the form of 22-year-old duo Giarnni Regini-Moran and Joe Fraser as well as 25-year-old James Hall, bidding to add to the five Olympic medals he has already racked up.

And, undaunted by the prospect of leading the British charge in Tokyo, the double Olympic champion believes he still has a lot to learn and offer – at Tokyo and beyond to even Paris 2024.

“I’m the oldest one in the team but I’m still hopefully going to every competition with the potential to win a title and I’m still seeing improvements in terms of what I can do,” said Whitlock, whose shot at a third Olympic title will be broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+.

“There’s more I can learn and there’s hopefully no chance of me stopping anytime soon.

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“I’m almost a cycle older than these guys but that’s actually a really proud feeling for me. To still be the guy that’s continuing on, aiming for podiums and titles at my age, and I still feel there’s more left in the tank.

“If I take on that role naturally [team leader] then I’ll be more than happy to. But, everybody can learn something from everybody in the team no matter their age or experience.”

Hertfordshire ace Whitlock is Team GB’s most successful Olympic gymnast after soaring to both pommel horse and floor exercise nirvana in Rio.

Whitlock will only defend one title this time, however, with his floor ambitions scrapped in order to focus on the pommel horse – as well as the high bar and parallel bars in the team event.

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But he is as determined as ever to scoop more glory and reckons keeping things clean can hold the key to a thrilling hat-trick of Games gold medals.

“A title would be a dream – it would be amazing but my goal is to perform a clean routine,” he added.

“That’s going to hopefully help the team, help me individually and hopefully gain a title.

“It’s hard not to think about medals after previous results but I really try to put that to the back of my mind.

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“But, first and foremost, it’s about thinking about that routine and what I can do on that day to be in the best shape possible.

“I feel lucky to be a gymnast that’s going to Tokyo to compete, it does harbour a lot of importance and I’ve been lucky to compete there before.

“I’m absolutely looking forward to returning.”

Watch every unmissable moment of Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 live on discovery+